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Dubliners advised not to travel to weddings outside county as move to Level Three 'a strong possibility'

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People living in Dublin should not attend weddings outside their county, Minister Paschal Donohoe has advised.

It comes after the Government unveiled their five-phase 'Living with Covid' plan yesterday morning. In the plan, Dublin falls under Level Two restrictions but must adhere to some aspects from Level Three.

Asked if travelling to a wedding outside of Dublin was something people living in the capital should do he told Morning Ireland; “Well I very regrettably have to advise those who will be planning to leave Dublin to attend such a wedding to reconsider that and not do it".

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Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe. Picture: Collins

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe. Picture: Collins

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe. Picture: Collins

He also said a 'wedding ceremony is about sharing hope about a better future' and that it would be upsetting to discover at a later date that it had been a site for the spread of infection.

"I absolutely understand how important and life-changing a wedding day is. I absolutely appreciate that. But a wedding ceremony is meant to be about sharing hope for a better future. Getting family together to celebrate a wonderful day," he said.

“And I’d ask all to consider how we could feel about a wedding if we then found out in a number of days or weeks time that the wedding turned into a place in which a disease was spread."

He also asked those living in Dublin with planned staycations around the country to reconsider the trips.

Mr Donohoe said the reason additional guidance for Dublin has been issued, on top of the Level Two guidance, is to continue to keep those who live and work in Dublin as safe as possible.

Speaking this morning on RTÉ Radio One, the minister also said that there is "a very real and strong possibility" that guidance for Dublin could change by the end of the week and the capital could be faced with further restrictions.

New public health measures for Dublin come into effect today. People living in Dublin are currently under Level Two restrictions but this could move to Level Three by the end of the week.

The limitations for Level Three include only allowing visitors from one other household, working from home, only 25 people are allowed to attend a wedding, no sports matches can take place, cinemas, theatres, arts events and business conferences cannot open, and people are asked to walk and cycle where possible.

Mr Donohoe said health experts will meet tomorrow and provide the Government with guidance that will then be considered before a recommendation is made to the people living in Dublin.

Minister Donohoe also asked those in Dublin with plans to travel around the country on staycations to reconsider their holidays.

"I would advise those planning to travel to Dublin to limit their travel," he said.

Asked if those who had planned staycations could avail of a refund he replied; "I hope that can be worked out in an understanding way."

“I hope that can be worked out in an understanding way with hotels and restaurants, who may be depending on that business. And I hope instead this could be rescheduled for the future," he said.

Mr Donohoe added: “We are asking Dubliners to do more than is contained in the guidance for level two.

“The reason we’re doing that is because of our concern regarding the health of Dublin. If it is appropriate to fully move up to level three - which will involve a whole lot of change and whole lot of difficulty for so many - that is what we will ask the country to do.”

The minister explained the Government were concerned about not just the rise in cases but also how the virus was spreading between households in the capital.

“Moving to level three is a real possibility… if we get that advice through from NPHET, it’s something the Government will take very seriously,” he said.

Under level 3, restaurants would also face more restrictions and there would be less people allowed at funerals.

However, schools and creches would be allowed to remain open, as would be the case under each level.

He said that some new countries will be added to the green list of countries free to travel to from as early as Monday.

Thereafter, if and when the EU agrees a common travel framework, he said the Government will consider it and hopefully "be in a position to integrate our country into that framework".

He added that everything would be done to improve the testing turnaround time. One million tests had been completed and this showed the right testing procedures were in place, he added.

The additional €600m winter support package for health would help the HSE tackle the virus at a challenging time for the country, he said.


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